Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a miracle in and of itself.  Only in our wildest dreams could we have imagined pitting Pichu, Snake,  Ridley, Richter, Cloud, Lucas, Female Marth, and King K. Rool against  each other in a chaotic eight-person free-for-all. It’s best not to  think about what the next Smash will look like, and instead enjoy what we’ve been blessed with from Daddy Sakurai.

The ultimate part of Ultimate

Image from Game Revolution

Ultimate really lives up to its name in so many ways, one of  them being the sheer magnitude of the roster. With every single fighter  from previous games coming back, plus a bunch of fan requested  newcomers and DLC fighters, the roster is over 80 characters. That’s an insane number of fighters.

The whole selling point of this game was that “everyone is here!”  It’s so nice to have all of the cut veterans return to the series. All  of the newcomers are incredibly fun to play as, and unlocking every  character except the original eight is so much fun. A lot of the  challengers are pretty difficult, particularly Lucas, but you can fight  them again after a certain amount of time. If you really like unlocking  characters like I do, this game technically allows you to do it twice:  once from unlocking characters through normal “vs.” matches or Classic  mode, and again through World of Light.

Something else that’s ultimate about Ultimate is Spirits  Mode, specifically the new adventure mode, World of Light. Almost  everything involving spirits is just pure fun. There are a few Spirit  battles that don’t feel like a challenge and instead just feel unfair;  looking at you, Pauline. Anyway, outside of a few hiccups with certain  spirits, this part of Ultimate is a blast to play through. However, where it really shines is in World of Light.

This sort of story mode takes the fun parts of Subspace Emissary,  specifically the fights, and puts them to good use. But don’t be  confused, this isn’t like Subspace at all, it’s frankly better. Sure,  World of Light doesn’t have the depth or cutscenes that Subspace had,  but it also doesn’t have the clunky platforming that Subspace had. World  of Light prioritizes fun and gameplay, making it much better than  Subspace. Between fighting incredibly creative spirits, freeing captured  fighters, and a 20-30 hour campaign, World of Light is easily a whole  game in its own right.

But why stop there? There are other great parts about Ultimate, like the new and improved Classic mode. Classic mode in Ultimate  is much more fun than in previous games. Here, fighters are not thrown  into random fights, but instead have a predetermined set of matches that  revolves around a different theme for the characters. For example,  Ganondorf fights the protagonists of several series represented in Smash,  and the last normal match before the boss is against Link and Zelda.  It’s nice to see each fighter’s personality through this game mode.  Unfortunately, there is a somewhat annoying bonus mode in every  character’s Classic mode, and that’s where we get into the bad side of Ultimate.

The not-so ultimate part of Ultimate

Image from GameStop

These points aren’t terribly bad, nor do they make the game  unplayable. They’re just slightly annoying parts to an otherwise amazing  game. To start out with, there are many minor inconveniences sprinkled  throughout the game that, when added up, knock the fun meter down a  notch.

I’ve already mentioned the annoying bonus mode in Classic, which is  essentially just a speed run where you try to get as many points as  possible. It’s the exact same thing for every character and it feels  more like a thirty second time waster than anything else. However,  there’s another mode in Games & More that is even worse off:  All-Star mode. All-Star used to be this cool thing where you could fight  against every single fighter in the roster one at a time, taking breaks  here and there to heal yourself. But now it’s a part of multi-man  smash, which has been renamed Mob Smash. Yes, you still fight every  playable character in the game, but now it’s more like Century Smash,  which used to be called 100-Man Smash, than anything else. It certainly  doesn’t feel like All-Star anymore.

Image from Nintendo Today

Moving on to the main part of Ultimate, the Smash mode. Here  you start out by picking the rules first, then the stage you want to  play on, and finally your character. I get that the developers wanted to  streamline it and probably hide loading screens in the process. But it  doesn’t feel streamlined. If anything, it feels more complicated than Smash 4.  Firstly, it’s annoying to have to create entire new rulesets or adjust  the ones you have already. It’s better to just create many different  ones ahead of time to avoid doing so when playing with friends.  Secondly, the icons on the stage selection screen is way too small. I  get that it’s probably to show off how massive the stage list is, but  would it have been hard to create different sections? A few different  sections containing all the stages introduced in each Smash game would  have been nicer, like how Brawl had Melee stages in a  different section. I end up picking random most of the time, or going  down to Dracula’s Castle since it’s the last stage. With the way it is  now, picking a stage is a mess.

And finally, we get to the character select screen (CSS). At first  glance, it’s a mess, too. But once you’ve unlocked everyone and played  enough, you start to notice where everyone is. Therefore, the messiness  of the CSS isn’t so much of a big deal after a while, but can cause  confusion at first, even to veterans of the series. It would’ve been  nice to have the option of organizing the fighters by series. But the  main problem with the CSS is that you have to pick your character and  skin again after every single match, which is probably the most annoying  thing for me.

Ultimate is still ultimate

Despite everything mentioned in the previous section, Ultimate  really is a fun game. I’m sure some of these annoyances will go away  either through experience playing the game or potential patches. The  size of the roster alone is enough to make me forgive most of these  oversights. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate really does live up to the hype. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to playing World of Light.




Featured image: Variety

Images from: Game Revolution, GameStop, and Nintendo Today

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